Hope Springs Maternal: Homeless Mothers Talk about Making Sense of Adversity

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Gordian Knot Books, 2007 - Social Science - 320 pages
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This revised and updated edition of Hope Springs Maternal incorporates the latest data on homeless mothers, changes to laws and policies regarding the homeless nationally and in New York, and an expanded discussion of their implications for social workers, planners, politicians, and shelter administrators concerned with helping homeless mothers establish independent lives for themselves and their children.

Through extensive interviews with twenty-four young women of color living in temporary shelters in New York City who were either pregnant or had very young children, Dr. Jill Gerson analyzes the shelter usersí backgrounds, current living experiences, and views of home, family, and parenting. Employing a life-history approach, she focuses on the ways the mothersí lives were shaped by both socioeconomic context and interpersonal experiences.

Gerson finds that most of the mothers had experienced various disruptive experiences in childhood and adolescence and that their shelter use was closely related to the adverse economic realities faced by many poor women of color. These shelter experiences were actually part of the mothersí search for a safe haven that could help them become self-sufficient adults and competent parents. The narratives reflect each individualís capacity to use limited social resources for personal development. Such transitional shelter use often coincided with efforts to achieve economic stability, obtain appropriate housing, and develop caring personal relationships.

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Introduction 1
Profiles of the Mothers
The Mothers Past Lives Understanding

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About the author (2007)

JILL GERSON received a DSW from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work. A longtime resident of New York City, Dr. Gerson has focused her social work practice on program development for under-served youth and families with young children. She is currently on the faculty of Lehman College in the Bronx, NY, Department of Sociology and Social Work. While teaching at Lehman, she developed an introductory course for human service workers aimed at enhancing their skills in working with families facing the complex challenges of poverty and social injustice.

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